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Quantum Sensors Group

The Quantum Sensors Group, part of NIST’s Physical Measurement Laboratory, and the Quantum Electromagnetics Division, advances the detection of photons and particles in a variety of application areas using superconducting sensors and readout electronics.

The Group focuses on:

  • quantum effects, including superconductivity;
  • low temperatures to reduce thermal noise; and
  • the development of advanced sensors.

Major activities of the Group include:

  • superconducting x-ray and gamma-ray spectrometers for applications that include materials analysis and nuclear materials accounting
  • superconducting microbolometers for applications that include concealed weapons detection and understanding the early universe 
  • advanced cryogenics to aid the dissemination of cryogenic sensors
  • the determination of x-ray fundamental parameters to facilitate materials analysis by x-ray techniques
  • support of U.S. industries that develop or use advanced cryogenics and cryogenic sensors

News and Updates

Shedding Light on Dark Matter with SQUIDs

Perhaps fortunately, most folks haven't noticed that 85% of the Milky Way is missing: The kind of familiar, ordinary matter we know – made up of protons

Projects and Programs

Quantum Microcalorimeters

Superconducting devices at very low temperatures can be used to measure very small amounts of energy. Using this effect, the Quantum Sensors Group is building


The application of modern micro- and nanofabrication techniques to superconducting and cryogenic electronics is enabling new capabilities and applications.

Novel Devices

Emerging devices such as parametric amplifiers can provide new capabilities for cryogenic sensor systems. The Quantum Sensors Group is studying a range of new


Absolute energies and emission line shapes of the x-ray lines of lanthanide metals

Joseph Fowler, Galen O'Neil, Bradley K. Alpert, Douglas Bennett, Edward V. Denison, William Doriese, Gene Hilton, Lawrence T. Hudson, Young I. Joe, Kelsey Morgan, Daniel Schmidt, Daniel Swetz, Csilla I. Szabo-Foster, Joel Ullom
We use an array of transition-edge sensors, cryogenic microcalorimeters with 4 eV energy resolution, to measure the x-ray emission-line profiles of four

Broadband high-energy resolution hard x-ray spectroscopy using transition edge sensors at SPring-8

Shinya Yamada, Yuto Ichinohe, Hideyuki Tatsuno, Ryota Hayakawa, Hirotaka Suda, Takaya Ohashi, Yoshitaka Ishisaki, Tomoya Uruga, Oki Sekizawa, Kiyofumi Nitta, Yoshio Takahashi, Takaaki Itai, Hiroki Suga, Makoto Nagasawa, Masato Tanaka, Minako Kurisu, Tadashi Hashimoto, Douglas Bennett, Edward V. Denison, William Doriese, Malcolm Durkin, Joseph Fowler, Galen O'Neil, Kelsey Morgan, Daniel Schmidt, Daniel Swetz, Joel Ullom, Leila R. Vale, Shinji Okada, Takuma Okumura, Toshiyuki Azuma, Toru Tamagawa, Tadaaki Isobe, Satoshi Kohjiro, Hirofumi Noda, Keigo Tanaka, Akimichi Taguchi, Yuki Imai, Kosuke Sato, Tasuku Hayashi, Teruhiko Kashiwabara, Kohei Sakata
We have succeeded in operating a transition-edge sensor (TES) spectrometer and evaluating its performance at the SPring-8 synchrotron x-ray light source. The

A Predictive Control Algorithm for Time-Division-Multiplexed Readout of TES Microcalorimeters

Malcolm S. Durkin, Galen C. O'Neil, William B. Doriese, Johnathon D. Gard, Gene C. Hilton, Jozsef Imrek, Nathan J. Ortiz, Carl D. Reintsema, Robert W. Stevens, Daniel S. Swetz, Joel N. Ullom
Time division multiplexing (TDM) uses a digital flux-locked loop (DFLL) to linearize each first-stage SQUID amplifier. Presently, the dynamic range of our TDM



Group Leader